Back at last - Bheinn Ghobhlach and Cnoc Badrallach
by malky_c » Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:25 pm
Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Ghobhlach
Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Cnoc a'Bhaid-rallaich
Date walked: 12/06/2011
Time taken: 3 hours
Distance: 9 km
Ascent: 860m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Sub 2000's: Cnoc a'Bhaid-rallaich
Date walked: 12/06/2011
Time: 3 hours
Weather: Sunny, fresh breeze, threat of showers
Finally back in the country, and I was itching to get back out on the hills again - 11 weeks possibly being my longest layoff ever. While I never quite got to the point of yodelling 'Caledonia' at passers by, there's no doubt I was missing home and the hills. Of course when I got back, I remembered that I had a ticket for the Rockness festival, so that took up the first couple of days. However the lineup for the Sunday looked extremely poor, so I decided to give it a miss.
Where to go first though? That was the question occupying my mind for the last month or so, and as ever the choice came at the last minute, with the weather looking particuarly good (if showery) to the west. On the one hand, I wanted a classic walk, somewhere that would encapsulate everything I liked about the highlands, but on the other hand, with the occasional climb to my office on the 15th floor being the only ascent I had done since March, I thought I'd better keep the route short to see what state my fitness was in. An evening ascent of Bheinn Ghobhlach fitted the bill perfectly.
Featuring as it does as an extra hill in the SMC Corbetts book, this hill was on my radar way before I had heard of Grahams, and in fact before I'd even seen it in the flesh. Having dropped my wife and friends off at the festival site late afternoon, I was parked up at Badrallach at 6.45pm, where a light breeze kept the midges at bay. I'd definitely broken all my self-imposed rules about driving ridiculous distances for such a short walk, but being my first in ages, I didn't care.
The times they are a changin':
Beinn nam Ban and the road back to Dundonnell:
A quick look at the map told me that the easiest way to get onto the hill was to follow the Scoraig path until shortly before it turned a corner at the headland of Creag a' Chadha. The path was very well maintained, being the main access to the hippy community of Scoraig. Once off the path, the heathery ground was much easier going than it looked, and soon enough I was overlooking Loch na h-Uidhe, and my hill was in sight.
An Teallach and Sail Mhor:
Bheinn Ghoblach across Loch na h-Uidhe:
Out to sea across Scoraig:
I had to divert around the west end of the loch and lose a little height; as I did so, Bheinn Ghobhlach slowly mutated into its familiar shape. Even at this height, the Western Isles were clearly visible beyond the showers, with Clisham being the most prominent domed peak, standing above the rest of the landscape. I could also see down to the Trotternish Ridge on Skye.
Bheinn Ghoblach across Loch na h-Uidhe again:
North Harris and showers over the Minch:
South across Little Loch Broom. Trotternish in the distance:
The main hills featuring in the views were An Teallach and Sail Mhor, and they were both showing their most impressive sides. Once over the outflow of Loch na h-Uidhe, I was climbing over short heather and grass onto the broken east ridge of Bheinn Ghobhlach. This was quite steep, and had some easy and avoidable scrambling. The other eastern ridge, bounding the north side of Coire Dearg, looked as if it would give a similar ascent.
An Teallach and Sail Mhor:
Little Loch Broom and North Harris:
Final section of the W ridge of Bheinn Ghobhlach:
The summit was open and airy, and had a shelter and a cairn with a small wooden cross on it. Immediately, views opened to the north, with Ullapool and Loch Broom featuring strongly, and Beinn Mhor Coigach taking center stage.
Looking across Ardmair to Assynt from the summit:
South from the summit:
South west across Little Loch Broom and Gruinard Bay. Gruinard Island just left of centre:
Another look at Assynt:
Loch Achall, Ullapool and Loch Broom. Seana Bhraigh and the Beinn Dearg range behind:
Surprise surprise - it's An Teallach again:
Initially, I had planned to drop straight down towards Cnoc Badrallach, but the curving summit ridge looked as if it would provide good views, so I headed north then west. Although I didn't go right to the end overlooking Scoraig, I got great views over the wild northern face of the mountain.
Back to the summit of Bheinn Ghobhlach:
Beinn Mhor Coigach and Isle Martin:
Across the Summer Isles from the northern summit of Bheinn Ghobhlach:
SW from the northern summit of Bheinn Ghobhlach:
Scoraig Peninsula and the Summer Isles:
Back to the main summit:
Beinn Mhor Coigach and Assynt:
After a short break for dinner (it was about 8:30pm by now), I retraced my steps east, then dropped down the flank of the hill towards Loch a Bhealaich. I was under strict orders to act as a taxi service from Rockness at midnight, so I was looking for the quickest way back. Although Cnoc Badrallach had been an optional add-on, it looked like crossing it would provide the shortest route to the car anyway, so I headed here now. The ground was a bit marshy and haggy at the col, but the going was OK, and before long I was on the summit ridge.
An Teallach across Cnoc Badrallach:
Out to sea:
Despite only being 90m lower, Cnoc Badrallach is much less prominent than Bheinn Ghobhlach, and the views out to sea are inferior. However it redeems itself by being a grandstand viewpoint for An Teallach and Sail Mhor, and it has a nice rocky summit. For those reasons, I'd happily swap it for 100 Drumochter Munros if this were a game of Top Trumps. With the sun starting to set red on An Teallach, I was glad to be facing this way on my final descent to the car. I also went a bit mad with the camera.
Rocks on the summit of Cnoc Badrallach:
NE from the summit:
Beinn Mhor Coigach from Cnoc Badrallach:
A peek over to Fisherfield and Beinn Dearg Bheag:
Beinn nam Ban:
East up Little Loch Broom. Clouds moving in to the east:
Wispy clouds indicate tomorrow's weather:
An Teallach from lower down:
and Sail Mhor:
The descent to the road was rocky and heathery, but with the car in view most of the way down, it felt easy. Ideally I would have done the route in reverse, being on Bheinn Ghobhlach during the best of the sunset, but I was pretty happy with the way things turned out regardless. Previous plans for this hill would have seen me stopping to climb Beinn nam Ban on the way home, but there wasn't really any time for that. What there was time for however, was lots of photo stops on the road home. The drive out to the top of Destitution Road was absolutley stunning, then once I passed Fain Bothy, I was sucked into grey cloud, and the weather out in the west was suddenly just a figment of my imagination.
Little Loch Broom:
Glas Mheall Mor of An Teallach from various points along the Badrallach road:
Last look at Beinn Mhor Coigach from the Badrallach road:
An Teallach from Fain Bothy:
I couldn't have asked for a better re-introduction to the Scottish hills really, and I was also surprised to find that I hadn't lost too much of my fitness, despite putting on a stone or so.
by HighlandSC » Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:46 pm
I do like evening shots of hills with longer shadows. Some of the moody shots out to sea are great, not to mention the red skies as you drove back.
I hope you brought back a couple of cans of Abu Dhabi weather to share with us.
by BlackPanther » Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:47 pm
We've been planning to climb this hill for ages, but we always end up doing something else (one time we went up Sail Mhor instead ). But as I see here, it is well worth a visit.
by Stretch » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:12 pm
by rockhopper » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:48 pm
11 weeks off
Dinnae fancy that one bit
Good restart choice
Excellent photos of a remote area. Nice report
by mountainstar » Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:43 pm
by LeithySuburbs » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:17 pm
Welcome back - I expect you to do some catching up over the next few weeks .
by gammy leg walker » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:28 pm
by ChrisW » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:34 pm
by malky_c » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:58 pm
HighlandSC wrote:I hope you brought back a couple of cans of Abu Dhabi weather to share with us.
I tried but they confiscated it at customs
BlackPanther wrote:We've been planning to climb this hill for ages, but we always end up doing something else
Same here - I've been meaning to go up it for years. Reading the other reports on Walkhighlands and Scottishhills, it seems that quite a few people never quite get around to this one.
kinley wrote:Good restart choice
I didn't pay that much attention to the exact route in your recent report, so it was quite interesting to see that while we had very similar ideas, I barely trod on any of the same ground as you. Amazing that there can be that many route choices on such a small hill.
mountainstar wrote: and you've spent some time cropping your photos...
Yep, you're a bugger . Ever since you mentioned that I've been spending more time on my photos, as looking back at some of my older reports, they look a bit messy.
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